UPDATED, Sept. 25, 5:25 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state would be moving into the third phase of reopening, allowing for up to 100 percent capacity at restaurants.
The announcement, made in St. Petersburg, left municipalities and restaurateurs in South Florida scrambling to determine how the order will impact them.
DeSantis said the state will guarantee restaurants can operate between 50 percent and 100 percent capacity, but acknowledged that “you’ll probably see a different approach in the southern panhandle.”
A press release from Miami-Dade County stated that all businesses can reopen, but the county “can still impose guidelines and protocols.”
If restaurants are limited to less than full indoor capacity, the order limiting capacity must “quantify the economic impact of each limitation or requirement on those restaurants; and explain why each limitation or requirement is necessary for public health,” according to the state’s order.
The governor said “we should prepare” for a second wave of coronavirus but “there has not yet been” a second wave. To date in Florida, there have been nearly 14,000 deaths due to coronavirus and 695,887 positive cases, according to the health department’s Covid-19 dashboard.
“We’ll be ready for it. I think people should still understand that the virus, it doesn’t go away,” he said, at one point adding that, “We expect to do a full Super Bowl in January.”
Indoor dining has been allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity in Miami-Dade County since late August, but bars and nightclubs remained closed.
Earlier this month, bars and breweries were able to reopen also at 50 percent capacity in the state, except in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
In Palm Beach County, bars, hookah and cigar lounges and other smoking bars, auditoriums, bingo parlors, comedy clubs, concert houses and playhouses will be able to be open. The county will be able to regulate capacity so long as the businesses listed above are allowed to open.
In mid-September, movie theaters, concert houses, convention spaces, bowling alleys and other entertainment venues were able to resume operating in Miami-Dade.